Via Andrew Sullivan, comes this insightful take on blogs and blogging from Clay Shirky, who teaches at the Interactive Telecommunications program at New York University, in an interview he gave to the Columbia Journalism Review:
What the Web does is that it does what all amateur increases do, which is it decreases the average quality of what’s available. It is exactly, precisely, the complaint made about the printing press. So, the only thing surprising about the Web, in a way, is that it’s been a long time since we’ve had a medium that increased the amount of production of written material this dramatically.I don't know what the fuck they mean by vulgar. I happen to think some of us are elevating the discourse. I mean, really, have you turned on the television lately? Okay, so maybe the blogosphere isn't exactly full of great writers, but you can find more quality writing on blogs in ten minutes of searching than you could find quality programming in a month on all of cable.
But people made the same complaint about comic books, they made the same complaint about paperbacks, and they made the same complaint about the vulgarity of the printing press.
By the way something, comedians need to find a new punchline for jokes about blogs. Blogs can be awesome. Maybe not this one. Maybe not 99% of them. But that still leaves a lot of great ones if you look. Even if you disagree with me that blogs have made a tremendous contribution to the world, how about for the sake of originality. This cartoon I've appropriated for this post is the closest thing I could find (in very limited searching, I do have a life to get back to) to a cartoon about blogs that doesn't openly mock bloggers. Essentially every joke about blogging is the same. It's time for you comedians out there to turn it around.